Presenting the First Graduating Class of ‘Advertising High School’

By Bob Marshall Comment

In 2008, the 4A’s established the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media in the Carnarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn. Yesterday, the school graduated its first class of seniors in a ceremony at the Brooklyn Museum, with a commencement address delivered by none other than Interpublic Group chairman and CEO Michael Roth.

Now, grooming impressionable teenagers for a career in advertising is understandably a bit unnerving. However, the establishment of IAM is part of an ongoing effort over the last decade to reinvigorate what was once among the most destitute and dangerous neighborhoods in Brooklyn. In fact, IAM sits on the former campus of Carnarsie High School, which was “phased out” in 2008 as a result of poor academics and a history of violence. Out of IAM’s 48 graduating seniors, 80 percent are going on to college. Add to that one of our readers’ favorite topics–encouraging racial diversity in the ad industry–and IAM’s core curriculum sounds like a much better idea. And, four graduating seniors are receiving portions of a $60,000 scholarship donated by the Ad Club of New York.

Through the 4A’s partner agencies, (which include DraftFCB, McCann, Deutsch, Euro RSCG, McGarryBowen, and Digitas), the students of IAM have contributed work toward brands like Jaguar and Google, and the school helped develop Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to fight obesity. See part of 4A president and CEO Nancy Hill’s speech to IAM’s first graduating class, which sounds an awful like Kevin Garnett’s NBA Championship interview from 2008, after the jump.

(Photo credit: Ric Kallaher)